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Classic Easy And Delicious Feta Cheese Recipe


 

 

Feta is a type of cheese with a delicious flavor and is neither too soft like chevre or ricotta nor too hard like cheddar or jack. It lies in between and can be made very easily. It does not require much time or fancy equipment and is quite similar to making hard cheese.

Although considered as hard cheese, feta does not require to be pressed in a cheese press with heavyweights like other hard cheeses. The whey which is necessary to be expelled is done so easily when the weight of the curds is drained in a cheesecloth sack.

But like all other cheese, feta cheese can and will go bad depending upon its initial packaging and storage.

Equipment required

Feta does not require a number of equipment. All it needs is a list of home cheesemaking supplies. 

Ingredients

     1-gallon milk obtained from goat

     ¼ tsp Flora Danica culture or any mesophilic culture

     ¼ tsp strong or mild lipase powder, dissolved in 3 tbs unchlorinated cold water

     ¼ tsp calcium chloride diluted in ¼ cup of unchlorinated cold water

     ¼ tsp liquid rennet diluted in  ¼ cup of unchlorinated cold water

     1-3 tbs of salt

Choice of milk

Initially, the feta was made from milk of sheep or goat but nowadays often cow milk is used, especially those cheese which are available for commercial purposes. The final texture remains similar irrespective of the type of milk used but cow milk fails to bring the original flavour of feta unless a bit of lipase is introduced.

 
Classic Easy And Delicious Feta Cheese Recipe

Goat milk possesses lipase naturally and thus feta made from goat milk does not require it to be added additionally. However, if the goat milk being used was pasteurized, then the effects of lipase die out and the flavour does not come. Hence in such cases, the lipase enzyme needs to be added to the milk in order to get the true taste.

When to use Calcium Chloride?

Calcium Chloride (CaCl) is not an ingredient that must be added to make feta but if pasteurized milk is being used, it should be added to obtain a more firm curd. Pasteurized milk is not as beneficial as normal milk as the main benefits of the milk gets reduced. The protein levels are damaged and the amount of calcium is also reduced.

In such cases, when the rennet is added, the curd fails to knit well together. So adding calcium chloride helps in maintaining the calcium balance in the milk and helps the curd to create stronger bonds.

Cheese lacking in calcium is softer and crumbles. So it is important in feta as it provides a different texture to the cheese.

Directions

1.   Cleaning the equipment and preparing the recipe:

Before starting to make cheese, you should clean the kitchen and all the equipment like pots and utensils with soap and water. The steam evaporated from boiling water also sanitizes the utensils. The utensils should be allowed to cook for about ten minutes before laying on a clean towel. Now they are ready to be used.  

2.   Start cooking:

The process of cooking starts by heating the milk. Any temperature between 86 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is good enough for the mesophilic bacteria to function. Then the Flora Danica should be sprinkled upon the milk, allowed to rehydrate for about a couple of minutes and then stirred well.

The stirring should be done gently so that it mixes well with the milk. If one needs to add lipase powder or calcium chloride, this is the best time. Then the mixture should be covered and allowed to ripen for an hour.

3.   Add rennet:

The diluted rennet solution should next be introduced and stirred well upwards and downwards for about a minute.

4.   Let it settle:

The curd should be allowed to sit for an hour or at least until a clean break can be spotted. A break is that time when a thermometer tip or a knife can easily carve through the curd creating an edge or a break rather than a tear.

5.   Cutting the curd:

After a clean break was spotted, the next task is to cut the curd. The curd should be cut into ½” cubes with the help of a sharp knife. Curd knives are the best in this regard which is specially designed for these purposes with sharp edges on both sides and a curved bottom, which would not cause any harm to the pot while gliding smoothly through the curd.

The knife should be placed ½” from the edge of the pot and drawn slowly through the curd. First the slices should be ½” across the pot and then the next slice should intersect the initial slice horizontally. This process should be repeated until the pot is full of rectangular slices.

Next, the knife should be held at a 45-degree angle and cut across the previous lines from the opposite side.

After the cutting is complete, the curd should be stirred gently to float in the whey and any large cubes should be cut into smaller pieces. The same sizes would lead them to lose whey at a similar rate. Vigorous stirring could lead to loss of butterfat, leading to a change of texture of the cheese.

6.   Hanging the curds:

The curd should be stirred for about 20 minutes so that matting does not occur. Then it should be poured in a colander lined cheesecloth, tied and hung for about 6 hours to drain.

7.   Add salt:

The drained curd should be brought down and cut into small pieces. Salt can be sprinkled on the surface of the cheese according to taste. The salt will spread throughout the cheese within a few days, giving a much better taste and should ideally be stored for 4-5 days in a covered bowl in a refrigerator.

Thus your delicious feta cheese is ready to be served and enjoyed. It is a recipe that can be easily made at home and does not require a long list of ingredients or a number of equipment. But one should be aware that feta cheese can and will go bad if not refrigerated properly.

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Marie Rayner
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